South Elgin Branch Opening


Quick Points

South Elgin Branch
  • Address: 127 South McLean Blvd., South Elgin, IL 60177

  • Phone Number: 847-931-2090

  • Building Hours: Monday through Thursday 10 am to 7 pm, Friday & Saturday 10 am to 4 pm, and Sunday noon to 4 pm. Lobby Hours: Monday through Thursday 9:30 am to 7 pm, Friday & Saturday 9:30 am to 5 pm, and Sunday 11:30 am to 4 pm.

  • The library’s purchase of a condo-unit in a larger building proved to be cost effective. The library space is 4,275 square feet - approximately half the size of Rakow.

  • The Grand Opening took place on July 24. The South Elgin Branch began operations on July 25.

  • This branch was made possible by the generosity of a major donation as well as other donor(s).

  • Due to this generous donation (s) and strategic planning, this branch was able to open without a tax impact.


South Elgin Library In The News

Gail Borden Library Opens South Elgin Branch     South Elgin library branch gets thumbs up!



Now Open Video


South Elgin Highlights Video


Browse Photos from our South Elgin Branch Opening

South Elgin Grand Opening


Timeline & Logistics

1. Background Information

After South Elgin was named one of the best places to live, an article in the Daily Herald said, "South Elgin bills itself as the place 'Where tradition meets future' and received kudos for its history, its proximity to the Fox River, its award-winning parks and recreation department and its core community of small businesses that have drawn new housing and bigger retailers to the area. According to the magazine, 'Everyone knows everyone by first name in this historic town 40 miles west of Chicago. South Elgin's small-town charm comes from a close-knit community and a long history -- it was established in 1897.'"

We firmly believe that adding a library service branch to South Elgin will uplift an already wonderful quality of life in South Elgin to a whole new level through access to literacy while helping a tremendous number of library residents on the west side of the Library District.

  1. The South Elgin and Rakow branches will complement each other to fully serve the community. We have had tremendous growth in programming demands such as – storytimes, science programs and device assistance and other technology. In the month of November 2014 there was a 146% increase in programming attendance at the Rakow Branch, but there is minimal programming space at Rakow. The South Elgin would provide for a meeting room in which the library could hold programs to serve both facilities. This facility will be a 21st Century library, offering technology, engaging programs, reading materials and study rooms for people of all ages.
  2. Randall Road is a huge dividing line for people. South Elgin, with its close proximity to neighborhoods, would enable young people to walk and bike to discover new worlds through reading, the internet and programs. It would also provide them space to get together for group projects. Over 13,000 people will be able to walk or bike to this location, living within 1 mile of the proposed location.
  3. South Elgin is a perfect distance to the Rakow Branch. Many studies show that community members will not travel more than 3 miles to visit a public library. The distance between South Elgin and Rakow is 2.5 miles, meaning it is close enough for joint programming and far enough apart to attract residents from South Elgin who are not going to the Rakow Branch. Over 50,000 people that will be likely users of this new branch as they live 3 miles from this proposed location and are in the Gail Borden Library district. This is a fast growing area as the population increased over 23% between 2000 and 2010. Many of these households are families with young children.

    A South Elgin Library Branch Will Bring a Lasting Extremely Positive Impact

  4. Locating a South Elgin branch in the proposed location would benefit a host of other businesses already located there and attract new businesses as it has been proven the library will increase traffic to that location.
  5. Residential values may increase for those homes located near the proposed Branch. Below is some December 2013 Pew Research Data about how people value libraries in their communities. The vast majority of Americans ages 16 and older say that public libraries play an important role in their communities:

• 95% of Americans ages 16 and older agree that the materials and resources available at public libraries play an important role in giving everyone a chance to succeed;

• 95% say that public libraries are important because they promote literacy and a love of reading;

• 94% say that having a public library improves the quality of life in a community;

• 81% say that public libraries provide many services people would have a hard time finding elsewhere."

2. Needs Assessment

"Incorporated in 1897, the Village of South Elgin began as a small farming community along the Fox River. Over the last 15 years the Village has experienced explosive growth, particularly at the fringes of the community. Residents are served by two library districts, the Gail Borden Library District and the St. Charles Library District. Neither library district offers a library within South Elgin." (South Elgin Village Master Plan 2009). However, among the Village's community vision is Goal C.4: Increase availability of library services within the community. Objective C.4.1: Pursue a satellite library branch within South Elgin.Objective C.4.2: Identify and seek unique library services to bring to the community (e.g. a children's reading room). And Goal C.5: Support South Elgin Schools in meeting the education needs of the community. (South Elgin Comprehensive Plan 2030).

Currently, South Elgin has five elementary schools, one junior high and one high school. Overlapping boundaries between IL School District U-46 and GBPLD are Clinton, Fox Meadow and Willard (K-6 elementary),Kenyon Woods (grades 7-8) and South Elgin High School. Recognizing the value of a public library, the village manager proposed an ideal location in a building within walking and biking distance of neighborhoods, schools and a Pace bus stop.

In the next 15 years, South Elgin's population is expected to be 27,567 with 9,681 households (Northeastern Illinois Planning Commission 2030 Forecasts). The Village of South Elgin is 7.13 square miles with a land of 48% residential. More recent taxpaying homeowners dwell in single and multifamily housing developments that march across the district's western and southern area. Once farmland and fields, the population grew 23% in the first decade of this century. According to recent studies, the majority of these residents are "Up and Coming" families with children.

The self-service model Rakow Branch, a 10,500 square foot facility, is being challenged by increasing customer demands. The Rakow Branch is located about 3 miles from the proposed South Elgin site and does not have a separate room for programs. Since its opening in 2009, attendance at programs has grown to such an extent that it is difficult to accommodate all who are interested in attending. In March 2015, there was a 133% increase in program attendance. The 50,000 customers using Rakow Branch will be close enough to attend programs at the South Elgin location.

3. About the Gail Borden Public Library District

Gail Borden Public Library District has been offering excellent library services at top notch facilities since 1874. The main library is situated in the heart of Elgin. The main library opened a new state-of-the-art facility in October 2003. This beautiful 153,826 square foot two-story building serves almost 145,000 customers.

The Rakow Branch opened in 2009. It was conceived and developed as a model for library services now and in the future, it embraces a variety of new technologies. Located adjacent to a wetland on Elgin’s Far West side, it features a collection of popular materials, a computer café, Zen gardens, and a “living room” with a fireplace. The Rakow Branch has earned LEED Gold certification, a benchmark for the design, construction, and operation of high performance green buildings.

A multi-award winning organization, the Gail Borden Public Library District welcomes over one million visitors per year as a proud community centered library. It received the highest recognition possible for an American library in 2009.

“The Institute of Museum and Library Service (IMLS) has selected five museums and five libraries to receive the 2009 National Medal for Museum and Library Service. The National Medal is the nation’s highest honor for museums and libraries that make extraordinary civic, educational, economic, environmental, and social contributions.

‘In the 21st century, these award winning libraries and museums are the heart and soul of their communities. Their outstanding contributions have gone above and beyond the call of duty to make a real difference in their communities. They reach out to people of all ages and backgrounds and invite them to explore our wonderfully diverse history, culture, and literature. I thank them for their good work and encourage others to follow their shining example,’ said IMLS Director Anne-Imelda M. Radice.”